Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Robby Gordon Motorsports is owned by NASCAR racing driver Robby Gordon, fielding his #7 Monster Energy Drink/Polaris/Warner Music Nashville/Menards Toyota Camry. The team enjoys the support of millionaire entrepreneur, John R. Menard Jr., who helped Gordon finance the purchase of Ultra Motorsports from Jim Smith in 2005. In October 2006, RGM signed with Ford Racing to run the Ford Fusion for the 2007 season. Sponsors of the car included Jim Beam, Camping World, Monster Energy Drink and Mapei.
2008 was marked with conflict for RGM, involving penalties for a switch to the Dodge Charger in the preseason testing for the 2008 Daytona 500, a decision which was later reversed, putting the #7 Dodge at 21 in the Sprint Cup Standings. Later that same year GEM and RGM became involved in a lawsuit relating to a potential merger. The lawsuit was dropped, and Gordon switched from GEM to Penske Racing engines.
RGM switched manufacturers once again in 2009, fielding Toyota Camrys for the entire season. Continuing to field Camrys, in 2010 RGM aligned with BAM Racing and garnered extended sponsorship from Monster Energy Drink. BAM Racing’s sponsor, Warner Music Nashville, will sponsor the #7 Camry driven by Robby Gordon, starting with the California event and including events at Atlanta and Bristol. Current sponsors for RGM include Monster Energy Drink, Menards, Polaris and Warner Music Nashville.
The NASCAR element of the Chip Ganassi Racing team merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is an organization that supports several racing teams involved in NASCAR and IRL races. The association is co-owned by Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates – both of whom are businessmen. Chip was a successful driver in his younger years and he made the decision to create a one-car IndyCar team in 1990. As a team owner Ganassi enjoyed immense success. In his first four years his team took five championship titles and 46 wins – the start to a long and successful period of racing. He made the decision to partner with Felix Sabates in 2000.
Sebates was never really a racer and he instead made his way into the world of stock car racing as an owner in 1987. This was easy since Sabates was a self-made millionaire from Cuba. He called his original team SABCO Racing and it was this team that Ganassi decided to purchase 80% of as he made his way into the ownership side of NASCAR racing. The Chip Ganassi Racing team is based in Concord, North Carolina. The teams currently race in the IndyCar Series and Rolex Sports Car Series. Dodge has been the car of choice since Ganassi took over the running of the operation – a collaboration which has definitely been advantageous.
Just before the NASCAR team merged with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in November 2008, five drivers worked for the team. David Stemme started racing at the age of 15 and he has raced in the Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup. Reed Sorenson started racing at the age of six and he went on to become a rookie phenomenon. He too was driving in the Busch Series and the NEXTEL Cup. Born in New Zealand, Scott Dixon was the team’s IndyCar driver. He impressed right from the start – winning his IndyCar debut and going on perform well in successive races. Dan Wheldon hails from England and is also an IndyCar driver. He has enjoyed an immensely successful career both in the states and abroad and is likely to continue to impress both his employers and fans. Scott Pruett is usually the man of choice for the Rolex Series. He has competed in a number of different forms of motorsports and proven to be successful at each one. All five drivers of Chip Ganassi Racing will likely continue to prove their worth in years to come.
Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is a NASCAR racing team which first appeared on the NASCAR circuit in 1991. The team, which is owned by Joe Gibbs, was originally started as a way for Gibbs to spend more time with his family. Gibbs was a man of many talents in his youth and besides owning the team he was also a successful coach for the Washington Redskins for many years. He started his team shortly after meeting up with Don Meredith who went on to become his business partner. The first people to race for the team were Jimmy Johnson and Richard Petty. Since then, JGR has seen the likes of legendary drivers such as Dale Jarrett, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart. Current drivers include Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Brad Coleman, Joey Logano and Matt DiBenedetto.
The team headquarters for Joe Gibbs Racing is located in Huntersville, North Carolina. J.D. Gibbs, Joe’s son, is currently the president of JGR. His brother Coy has raced for the team in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and currently coaches football in Washington. Over the years JGR has won the following championships: the Nationwide series twice, three Sprint Cups, one Camping World East Series and 2 NHRA.
J.D. Gibbs is credited with expanding the team since beginning his presidency in 1997. He has managed to increase the one-car operation to a three-car team of Chevrolets which are numbered 20, 18 and 11 and are sponsored by Home Depot, Interstate Batteries, Fed Ex, M&Ms, NOS and Z-Line Designs.
JGR also supports a number of Christian-based charitable organisations – many of which are designed to appeal to youths. The Joe Gibbs Racing team continues to be a favourite amongst fans and will likely continue to operate for years to come.
Yates Racing merged with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2009.
Robert Yates Racing is based in Mooresville, North Carolina and is an official NASCAR racing team. Robert Yates owns the team and at the moment has two cars, number 88 and 38 Fords that are racing in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. David Gilliland drives #38 and has sponsorship from Masterfoods, USA. Number 88 will be driven by Ricky Rudd during the 2007 season and is also sponsored by Masterfoods.
Ford Racing motors in partnerships with Robert Yates Racing and Roush Racing produce the powerful engines Robert’s cars have. In the past Robert’s motors have been known as the most powerful engines in NASCAR, whereas Roush has been known as a consistent motor. The combination has produced excellent and dominant engines since 2004 and since 2006 all Ford teams in the NEXTEL Cup have been using the Yates/Roush engines.
In 1996 Dale Jarrett took over driving #88 and is still part of the Robert’s team. Dale has had numerous wins over the years and has recorded the most wins out of all the drivers in Robert’s team. For the 2006 season Jarrett will move to Michael Waltrip Racing team, but #88 will still be raced in 2007.
Robert Yates took on Davey Allison as his first driver. Allison drove the #28 Havoline Ford till the mid-1993, making 15 wins and finishing 3rd in points twice over the years. A disastrous crash in a helicopter tragically killed Allison in 1993. Lake Speed, Robby Gordon and Ernie Irvan split the rest of the duties left in the season. Irvan successfully won twice and the following year he won three times in the #28 but was badly injured in a crash, leaving Kenny Wallace to take over.
In 1995 Dale Jarrett replaced Irvan who was still struggling to recuperate. That year he won at Pocono Raceway, finishing 16th in points. Ernie Irvan competed in three races in the #88 but soon switched over to the #28, expanding the racing team to a two-team setup. By 1997 his term with Robert Yates racing team came to an end. In 2003 Elliott Sadler was hired to drive #28 and with the car he won twice. Yates made a few changes; firstly he changed sponsorship to M&M’s and then changed the car number to #38. David Gilliland is the current driver of #38 and will drive in the 2007 season.
As of 2010 Lowe’s Motor Speedway became Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Stock car racing is extremely popular in South Concord, North Carolina. Designed and built in 1959 by O. Bruton Smith and the late Curtis Turner, Charlotte Motor Speedway (previously Lowe’s Motor Speedway) remains one of the premier racing locations in the United States.
Smith and Turner, together they built their dream of a 1.5-mile super-speedway on the outskirts of The Queen City and, on June 19, 1960, the first World 600 was run at this new facility. It took nearly 25 years for Lowe’s Motor Speedway to come of age. The Smith Tower – a 135,000-square-foot, seven-story facility connected to the speedway’s grandstands – was erected and opened in 1988. The building houses the speedway’s corporate offices, ticket office, souvenir gift shop, leased office space and The Speedway Club, an exclusive dining and entertainment facility.
Another innovation was a $1.7 million, 1,200-fixture permanent lighting system developed by MUSCO Lighting of Oskaloosa, Iowa. The revolutionary lighting process uses mirrors to simulate daylight without glare, shadows, or obtrusive light poles. The lighting system was installed in 1992, allowing Lowe’s Motor Speedway to be the first modern super-speedway to host night auto racing.
In addition to the 1.5-mile quad oval, the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex includes a 2.25-mile road course and a six-tenths-mile karting layout in the speedway’s infield; a quarter-mile asphalt oval utilizing part of the speedway’s front-stretch and pit road; and a one-fifth-mile oval located outside turn three of the super-speedway.
With those kinds of track conditions, it’s no wonder the schedule of racing events at Charlotte Motor Speedway reads like a Who’s Who of NASCAR: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events, two NASCAR Busch Series races and a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event are among the major events held on the 1.5-mile super-speedway. The Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Fast Track High Performance Driving School also use the track extensively throughout the year.
Most recently, the track added a new garage area for the NASCAR Busch Series, a new state-of-the-art media facility and additional restrooms and showers for use by those enjoying the action from the speedway’s infield. These additions are all part of a long-term project calling for additional grandstand seating, infrastructure improvements, spectator amenities and the development of adjacent land for possible commercial real estate ventures.
Charlotte Motor Speedway: tradition only takes you so far. After that, it’s a matter of speed and innovation. Oh, and a seating capacity of nearly 170,000 doesn’t hurt either.